My father built the fire pond after his chain saw factory burned down when the fire trucks ran out of water. But he told my mother, a wonderful swimmer, that he built it for her — because she looked like the Hollywood swimming star Esther Williams in the water.
Uh-huh….The older I get the smarter the scheming old man seems.
It just goes to show you that human life, which, naturally, evolved from water, can oftentimes – with a simple splash of pond water – be revived…if not stimulated.
Hmmm….. In fact, I think my younger brother was conceived shortly thereafter. But what did I know at that clunky young age when you never considered that fun in bed was anything more than your mother getting you a glass of water.
So, what’s all this water got to do with anything? Except maybe that a few short 9-months thereafter, my mother’s water broke.
Which has nothing to do with anything I want to talk about. Except maybe that after your mother’s water breaks a tsunami of roiled water usually discomfits the rest of the family thereafter.
Hmmm….I’ve got to take my medication with more water and less bourbon.
The fact is, as we all know, water gives and restores life – even to my parents, who I never figured “did it.” Although I did figure out what fish did in there.
But that, that gives often provides an abundancy of more than what most of us can ever appreciate.
Indeed, water runs deep. And those folks, for instance, who free-dive, without oxygen tanks, pursuing the yawning ocean depths, discover something about the human evolutionary programming: We still are what we were. And even though we may have consciously forgotten, the independent functions of the body haven’t.
In other words: as the great old boxer Rocky Graziano used to espouse: Somebody up there likes me.
In fact, all of us must have had a pretty amazing anatomical computer programmer.
Indeed, it is utterly amazing: A body of water and the human body. Two bodies at work. And, believe it or not, they often are working in harmony –communicating with body language.
Consider this: a free-diver with no air tanks, etc., splashes into the chilly briny sea. His mammalian diving reflex, an autonomic process, is activated when the nerves in the face come into contact with the water.
First thing that happens: the heartbeat slows. Then the blood in his body shifts. As he descends to depths and deeper pressures, the blood withdraws from the arms and legs and concentrates in the chest. This prevents the chest from collapsing, since he is holding his breath rather than breathing.
Meanwhile the lungs compress to the size of lemons. The deeper he swims the more they compress. And shrunken lungs give the diver a seeming capacity of having much more oxygen because it is concentrated.
The physiological truth is that your body knows how to conserve oxygen on its own. It is human endurance. And if you trust your body – that is: don’t panic and disrupt the process with stress — you prove human endurance works.
Think of it as retraining yourself to return to a discipline that we all did naturally to live millions of years prior in our evolutionary chronicle.
Now doesn’t that tickle you delightfully in places even your proctologist can’t find?
I think why I found this so fascinating, if not downright brilliant, is that the pre-Socratic philosophers divined the four basics of life down to: earth, wind, fire and water. That’s all there is. Just like on the Periodic Chart of Elements there are only about 105 elements known in our entire universe.
That’s all there is. That’s all we are. Use them up and they’re gone. Therefore, we are gone.
It has to inspire us hardened cynics to, at least, tweak up a notch above our haughty, supercilious, self-possessed importance. Except, perhaps, for folks like Donald Trump: He undoubtedly believes he is a self-made man — and truly only worships his creator.
The fact is, our bodies – with their year-in-year-out standardized parts — do engage in atavistic, self-governing functions that have been surviving the plethora of idiotic stupidities we humans have been doing and redoing the last 5 million years.
And what do we learn from our history?
That we make mistakes?
Or that we just forget what they were?
My brother, Dr. Brian L. Strunk, is a celebrated interventional cardiologist. He understands the virtuosity of not only the heart but the profound manner that the body possesses to instinctually survive. The rest of us underlings just take it for granted.
That’s why he bikes and jogs and hikes and plays tennis and consumes a “no-fat” diet. He is appalled that people like me drink and smoke cigars and all sorts of things that he finds an anathema to the body’s war against a young death. He can be such an aggravating dork.
Another doctor, who better understands that you can never be too crazy but you can be too sane, and with whom I smoke cigars on Thursdays has a more philosophical appreciation. He’s in his early 80s. And when I posed my amazement of the body’s innate ability to survive such watery depths, he smiled and gestured his cigar to the heavens.
“Kind of makes you think He knew what He was doing, doesn’t it?”
I had to confess that Dr. Don Kudrec had me second guessing myself. And then, holding aloft his IPad he urged me to think about the brain. “Today’s computers are no more than primitive art on the cave wall.”
But, of course.
I started all this by talking about my father seducing my mother with pond water. Water gives life. Water is life. We were first provided life in her embrace. Such an elemental treasure.
Unfortunately, while we readily covet the diamonds sparkling in the heavens, we often fail to appreciate the treasure at our feet.
And the only times we seem to value what we have and why we are, is when we are oxymoronically attempting to satisfy some deep psychological urge to seek more: pushing the competitive edges of the proverbial envelope – to soar higher; swim deeper, run faster.
What is within us all can be rediscovered in the simple depths of the sea, as well as the unfolding heights of the sky. Or, then again, by simply standing beside a newly excavated fire pond.
Of course, in engaging the simple, and the complex, some of us darn fools will end up in Davy Jones’ locker, or alongside bin Laden’s grave.
But, for the rest it teaches not only that we can survive, but we will. The past is, indeed, prologue for the future. Even though the ‘Doubting Thomases’ may argue that man has used his intelligence merely to invent stupidity, there is always an optimist like Dr. Kudrec declaring: He obviously knew what He was doing.
To which Archie Bunker declared: “G-d don’t make no mistakes. That’s how He got to be G-d.”
And dats yDrewIS on DIS penal colony